Pharmacist

Pros


  • This is a job for someone who is interested in chemistry as they will need to know the properties of many different drugs and how they work.
  • You will be helping people with their health issues, counseling them on their medications.
  • Pharmacists have high earnings.

Cons

  • Many pharmacists work long hours, often outside of the normal 9-5 workday to serve their customers.
  • Some pharmacies are fast paced places to work, and a lot of time standing or walking around may be need.
  • Careful attention to detail is needed as some combinations of medicine may be dangerous for customers.

Overview

A pharmacist is someone who dispenses medication to people. They work in pharmacies, which can be located in a drug store, a grocery store or a hospital. Pharmacists deal mostly with medication that is prescribed by a doctor, but they can also consult with their customers about the benefits of non-prescription medication, medical equipment and home health supplies. More often than in the past, pharmacists advise their customers on these issues. In addition, pharmacists may also offer services to help people with problems such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma deal with their specific issues.

Due to the degree of detail required to be a pharmacist, they are well-paid. The reason is that there is an element of risk when dispensing drugs to people, and pharmacists must be careful to make sure that customers are getting the right dosage of medication as well as ensuring that medication is not being used in combinations that cold be potentially dangerous to ingest. They usually use specialized computer programs to monitor this, and also keep a watchful eye on the various drugs that are being dispensed in the pharmacy.

The work that a pharmacist does in dispensing drugs is usually what they do in a pharmacy setting, but some of them have specialized into interests such as drugs to treat cancer, mental health or specifically for those in old age. A small amount of pharmacists also work in pharmaceutical companies, consulting them on new drug development using their expertise that they have gained by working in pharmacy settings.

Education

To become a pharmacist, it is required that you must be properly licensed. These are issued by state, and the license requires a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, also known as a Pharm.D. To be accepted into pharmacy school, students generally must complete two to three years of undergraduate work, focusing on science studies. Two-thirds of pharmacy programs require undergraduate student to take the PCAT, the Pharmacy College Admissions test. In pharmacy school, students will learn about drug therapy, and will spend a quarter of their time doing hands-on work in pharmacy settings.

Job Prospects

One wishing to become a Pharmacist can expect excellent prospects for the future. The field is expected to grow faster than most other occupations. This can be attributed to the fact that technological progress is advancing drug science and creating new drug therapies that help people. Also contributing is the fact that the population is growing older, which is the market that pharmacies are geared toward since older people generally take more prescription medication then younger generations.

Advancement Opportunities

Entry-level pharmacists can expect to work as a staff employee for their first couple of years after pharmacy school. They can then be promoted to a managerial position. From there, it is possible for pharmacists to move up the chain, become regional or district manager. Some pharmacists use their experience to work in sales or research at a pharmaceutical company. Others wishing to work for themselves allocate capital to open their own community pharmacy.